by William Eric McFadden


Three members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team participated in the 1997 QRP ARCI Fall QSO Party from Highland Park in Athens, Ohio, on Sunday of this 36-hour event. The participants were Mike Hansgen, AA8EB; Drew McDaniel, W8MHV/9M2MC; and Eric McFadden, WD8RIF.

This participation was mostly an excuse to get the rigs outside and have fun before winter's arrival, so the trio only operated about five hours of the permitted 24 hours.

The gear: Mike brought his Ten-Tec Scout and lots of coax. Drew brought his ICOM IC-706; MFJ 20m CW transceiver; homebrew 15m CW rig, antenna tuner, and SWR bridge; and an Island Keyer. Eric brought his QRP Station in a Bag and a 20m full-wave delta loop. In addition, Eric brought a 25Ah and a 10Ah battery for the Scout and IC-706.

Mike and Eric arrived about 11am, and successfully suspended the 20m delta loop and a 40m dipole (which is part of the QRP Station in a Bag) before Drew arrived about noon.

Drew's IC-706 was set up first, and this was the first time Eric and Mike had had a chance to operate this rig, and both were impressed. It is tiny, and, combined with the 4.5 pound switching supply Drew has but didn't bring to this event, would be a wonderful travel radio. The receiver is excellent, and the menu system, while initially somewhat daunting, proved to be no real problem. Drew has the 500Hz narrow CW filter installed in this rig. Operations with this rig took place at 5 watts, of course.

After a bit of time with the '706, operations switched to the Scout. This was the first time Eric and Drew were able to operate a Scout. The receive audio was wonderful, and the legendary Ten-Tec QSK was a joy. Eric was pleasantly surprised by the very mechanical feel of the PTO tuning. The Jones filter worked very well. The receiver was very sensitive. The Scout is fractionally larger than the ICOM, but also is small enough to travel well. Operations with this rig also took place at 5 watts.

Just for comparison's sake, Eric's QRP Plus was set up. While pleasantly familiar to Eric, it was much less sensitive than either the IC-706 or the Scout. The SCAF does allow a much narrower (audio) filter than either of the others have. Set up next to the sleek, tiny '706, the QRP Plus looked large and chunky--but the QRP Plus can survive on a much smaller battery than either the '706 or the Scout can.


Except for a stint when Mike used Eric's call sign, each operator used his own callsign. 20m was hard going and it was challenging to keep a frequency. On the other hand, 40m was wide open and full of stations. Each of the operators was able to run the frequency, and several times small pileups developed.

Operator Number of QSOs
Mike (using WD8RIF)17
Mike (using AA8EB) 17
Drew 18
Eric 17